Advertisement

The CFL keeps searching for a way to return

CFL balls are photographed at the Winnipeg Blue Bombers stadium in Winnipeg Thursday, May 24, 2018.
CFL balls are photographed at the Winnipeg Blue Bombers stadium in Winnipeg Thursday, May 24, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

It’s a small step, but it is a step in the positive direction for the Canadian Football League.

“It’s a long way from where we ultimately want to be but in the midst of this crisis, you take progress anywhere you can get it,” CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie told 630 CHED after he sent a memo to all teams this week allowing them — under strict guidelines — to open their doors to players at team facilities to begin workouts.

Opening up is not an easy process and Ambrosie said the league and teams are getting help from many levels.

Story continues below advertisement

“Everybody is currently working with their regional health care authorities and they have to follow local protocols and have systems in place to ensure they are compliant with the requirements laid out by local authorities.”

READ MORE: CFL looking at September start, Regina no longer guaranteed 2020 Grey Cup host

The COVID-19 pandemic has already forced the start of training camps, the pre-season and the start of the regular season to be postponed by the CFL. The hope is playing a shortened season that will start in September.

Click to play video 'CFL lays out best case scenario for 2020 season' CFL lays out best case scenario for 2020 season
CFL lays out best case scenario for 2020 season – May 20, 2020

The NHL released its return to play plan this week and Ambrosie says the CFL has studied it looking for ideas.

“Absolutely, there is no reason to ignore the work being done by other leagues. If we can learn a lesson or two from what they are attempting to do we will. We are looking closely at what they have done.”

Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: Coronavirus: CFL commissioner not counting on specific funding from federal government

While Ambroise is doing his best to be positive and find ways to play in 2020, he also knows they have to plan for the other side of the coin and not playing.

“I’ve been asked by the governors to really focus on when we will need to know. I have been challenged to come back to the governors with a recommendation on our ‘go-no go’ date,” he said. “I have avoided that up to this point, but I take good guidance from the governors and think it’s time for us to think about when will we need to make a final decision on our season status.”

Click to play video 'Coronavirus outbreak: Trudeau says ‘discussions ongoing’ with CFL over possible financial support' Coronavirus outbreak: Trudeau says ‘discussions ongoing’ with CFL over possible financial support
Coronavirus outbreak: Trudeau says ‘discussions ongoing’ with CFL over possible financial support – Apr 29, 2020

In the meantime, the commissioner continues to look for solutions.

Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: Edmonton Eskimos providing options for fans who have 2020 tickets

“Our economics make it very difficult to think about playing without fans in the stands. Despite that, we are going to exhaust all options to see if we can’t find a way to play this season under some social distancing scenario or without fans.

“We want to say in the end that whatever we chose to do, we want to be able to say to our fans that we tried everything and that we exhausted all options.”

Click to play video 'Regina no longer guaranteed 2020 Grey Cup host' Regina no longer guaranteed 2020 Grey Cup host
Regina no longer guaranteed 2020 Grey Cup host – May 21, 2020

Ambrosie said the league will be monitoring things very closely and is hopeful as many teams as possible can open their facilities.